Reports in the Sri Lankan media claim that the Rajapaksa regime is looking to re-list several Tamil diaspora groups as banned terrorist organisations on the island, as a military crackdown in the North has seen dozens of Tamils arrested.
A report in the Daily Mirror claims that the Sri Lankan government is “considering” the move, which will see several organisations from around the globe banned from Sri Lanka and those who interact with them on the island risking arrest.
In March 2014, the Sri Lankan government proscribed 424 individuals and 16 Tamil diaspora organisations, alleging they had links to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). In November 2015 after immense pressure from diaspora groups and the international community, the government de-proscribed 8 diaspora organisations and 269 individuals. The November 2015 gazette continued however to justify the proscription of 8 diaspora groups and 155 individuals, including the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) and the Tamil Coordinating Committee (TCC).
Reports now indicate that organisations such as the Canadian Tamil Congress, Australian Tamil Congress, Global Tamil Forum, National Council of Australian Tamils and Tamil Youth Organization, may now be banned once more.
“The Rajapaksa regime has made it clear that any dissent - particularly from Tamils - will not be tolerated,” said one diaspora activist, who wished to remain anonymous as they still work closely with Tamils on the island.
“There has already been a significant uptick in violence and militarisation since this regime took office,” the activist continued. “It already remains difficult for Tamil activists on the ground and around the world to document and speak out about human rights violations that are taking place. A renewed ban seeks to suppress that work even further.”